Welcome to Where a Dietitian Eats Out, a series that showcases practical examples of how nutrition experts navigate food choices and real-world dining scenarios around the globe. Learn tips on making healthier choices at restaurants and maintaining a balanced diet while dining out. Because enjoying food is important to developing a healthy and sustainable way of eating.
Introducing Stephanie Nelson, a Registered Dietitian and the Lead Nutrition Scientist at MyFitnessPal. Stephanie is all about a balanced lifestyle, nourishing her body to fuel her active routine.
“Dining out is a normal part of my routine,” Stephanie says. “I love trying new dishes and hanging out with friends and family.”
To keep it balanced, Stephanie cooks most of her meals at home. That way, when she does go out, she can fully enjoy the experience without stressing about her choices. “But I do lean toward lighter options, like fish or chicken, and prefer grilled over fried.”
When Stephanie’s on the hunt for a new dining spot, it’s all about the adventure. She looks for dishes and flavors that she wouldn’t whip up at home.
“I love when the restaurant takes pride in the ingredients and offers authentic cultural cuisines,” she explains.
So, authentic cultural cuisines? Count her in! House-made pastas, noodles or tortillas? Absolutely. And what’s the ultimate clincher for
Stephanie? A stellar cocktail menu. Cheers to that!
Discover Stephanie’s top five favorite restaurants and go-to dishes in Carlsbad, CA below.
1. Lola’s 7 Up Market and Deli
3292 Roosevelt St, Carlsbad CA
Type of food: Mexican
Why she loves it: “It represents the rich cultural history of the surrounding neighborhood in Carlsbad. The neighborhood around Lola’s has traditionally been the Barrio, a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, stemming from folks who settled there fleeing the Mexican Revolution from 1900-1920. Lola’s is Carlsbad’s oldest business, having opened in 1943, and is located in the intersection that was once the Barrio community hub. I am lucky enough to live in this neighborhood and experience the history for myself, so I go to Lola’s to enjoy the food, but also to support and celebrate the community.”
Go-to orders: A breakfast burrito in the morning, or tamales and chile rellenos in the afternoon or night with a side of salsa
120 N El Camino Real, Encinitas CA
Type of food: Vietnamese
Why she loves it: “They are my favorite pho spot because they make their own noodles and their broth is so flavorful and soothing.”
Go-to orders: Chicken pho with extra veggies and sriracha
3. Blue Ocean Sushi
2958 Madison St #100, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Type of food: Japanese
Why she loves it: “Their rolls are really fresh and the combination of flavors in their rolls are so tasty!”
Go-to orders: Tsunami roll (tempura shrimp on the inside, ahi tuna on top) and Marine Boy (spicy tuna inside and salmon on top)
4. Leucadia Donut Shoppe
1604 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas CA
Type of food: Donuts!
Why she loves it: “My favorite hole-in-the-wall style donut shop. They offer all the classics at a cheap price, and are my go-to post-surf stop for a hot cup of coffee and a donut.”
Go-to orders: Cake donut with vanilla and rainbow sprinkles
2725 State Street, Carlsbad CA
Type of food: Wood-fired American fare and cocktails
Why she loves it: “CAMPFIRE serves an upscale take on California fare (fish, chicken, steak, etc), but it is all cooked over an open fire, campfire style. The result is a unique flavor from the flames and from the well-thought-out flavor combinations. It’s totally unique and my favorite place to celebrate a special occasion or have a date night.”
Go-to orders: Roasted broccoli and fish with tableside s’mores for dessert